Author(s): Ingjaldsson JT, Laberg JC, Thayer JF
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Previous research suggests that heart rate variability (HRV) may be an important factor in various maladaptive psychological conditions. METHODS: This study was conducted to investigate vagal tone assessed as tonic vagally mediated heart rate variability in alcoholic (n = 49) and control subjects (n = 45). RESULTS: Alcoholic subjects had faster heart rate and lower preimaginary exposure levels of HRV compared with the control group. An increase in HRV was observed in the alcoholic group when subjects were exposed to an imaginary alcohol script. Tonic HRV was found to be related inversely to negative mood and chronic thought suppression and positively to positive mood. Furthermore, the compulsive subscale of the Obsessive Compulsive Drinking Scale (OCDS) was inversely related to HRV during the imaginary alcohol exposure. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that the findings are in agreement with the neurovisceral integration model of affective regulation, which claims that dysfunctional psychologic states are rooted in an impaired inhibitory mechanism that is associated with low HRV.
This article was published in Biol Psychiatry
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy